Sessions Bars Immigration Judges From Suspending Low-Priority Cases

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has blocked immigration judges from suspending low-priority deportation cases, a once-common practice that allowed undocumented immigrants with deep ties to the community and no criminal backgrounds to remain in the country. In an order issued Thursday in a case involving an unaccompanied minor from Guatemala, Sessions said immigration judges “do not have the general authority to suspend indefinitely immigration proceedings” by the practice officially referred to as administrative closure. Such closures have routinely been used in the past for undocumented immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for many years and have spouses or children who are U.S. citizens. Immigration advocates have criticized Sessions’ ruling as just the latest heavy-handed immigration measure implemented by the Trump administration. Chuck Roth of the National Immigrant Justice Center was quoted by Reuters as saying the move is meant to “reduce immigration judges to deportation machines.”